The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Dem bones

Award-winning sermon addresses domestic abuse

Dem bones, dem bones, gonna walk aroun’
Oh, hear the word of the Lord.

Dem bones, as the spiritual goes, came to life—and helped Dana Nelson write an award-winning sermon on domestic violence.

Dana Nelson
Dana Nelson
Her sermon, “Dry Bones Can Live Again” (based on Ezekiel 37:1-14), won the “Spiritual Speakout for Violence-Free Families” and the FaithTrust Institute’s 2005 sermon contests, which occur every two years. She grew up listening to the song, which was the skeleton for the life experiences and training that fuel her passion for ending domestic violence.

Nelson’s education and training in domestic violence began in college and continued into seminary. She gave the sermon as a master of divinity student at Luther Seminary, St. Paul, Minn.

“It felt overdue,” Nelson said about preaching on this topic. “I need to be a good steward of all of the resources God has given me, including the training and awareness of the movement to end domestic violence—plus countless hours of listening to women and men who are in abusive relationships and are discerning what to do about it. There is hope and strength in the stories of survivors of domestic violence.

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